Daily Archives: August 21, 2010

A few more thoughts about the defensive line

Fletcher Page does some interesting speculating about what Rodney Garner’s announcement this week that Justin Anderson is the leading candidate to start at defensive tackle means.

… But here is my take:

I understand that Todd Grantham inherited these players. They’re not the Dallas Cowboys, and there wasn’t time left to grab someone that would fit the bill. Grantham is currently working on that.

But a statement I’ve come to learn and use that applies to everything in life: You just have to make it work.

Nobody cares that these aren’t Grantham’s guys. Nobody cares if Kwame is young and Bean is adjusting. Nobody cares. It’s just going to have to work.

What people do care about is winning and being successful.

In order for that to happen, I think either Bean or Kwame needs to step up to make this line legitimate…

In other words, even if these guys aren’t ready for it, they’re being put into the positions they need to occupy and achieve at in order for this defense to have a chance to succeed this year.  It’s not so much a gamble as it is a realization that this is the best placement of the existing square pegs in personnel in Grantham’s scheme’s round holes.  Which is another good reminder that we need to be cautious about gauging how much he’s going to be able to accomplish in one season.

One minor thing that I don’t think Page gets right is Anderson’s role in this.

… Yes, Justin Anderson did just move to the defensive side of the ball in the spring. But he does have the stereotypical size for a nose tackle in the 3-4 scheme. So I can see Bean starting. And I also could see him struggling. Neither scenario would be surprising.

That’s a fairly common point I’ve seen made often, but it’s not entirely correct.  Georgia’s not playing a two-gap defensive line version of the 3-4, where a massive nose tackle is critical.  The needs at the position are different in the one-gap scheme that Grantham intends to deploy.

… But new Georgia defensive coordinator Todd Grantham, who imported the 3-4 from the Dallas Cowboys, believes a nose tackle can flourish in his system. He pointed out that Jay Ratliff was an All-Pro and had eight sacks for the Cowboys last season.

The key is whether a nose tackle has to attack one or two gaps in the offensive line. In the Redskins’ new system, for instance, the nose tackle has to attack two, which tends to limit the opportunities to make plays — like sacks.

But in Grantham’s system, the nose tackle only has to mind the one gap and has more freedom.

“You can make some sacks as a nose if you’ve got some initial quickness and some burst,” Grantham said.

The man who’s got the responsibility of making the Anderson move work out puts it another way.

“I guess the 3-4 (scheme) that everyone’s so paranoid about, when you have that two-gap, you need that big 350-pound nose guard that can just sit in there and just hold the point at center and play both of them ‘A’ gaps,” Garner said. “And I don’t have that.”

All we can do is wait and see if the experiment works.

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Filed under Georgia Football

A player agent’s noble proposal

Tom Brady’s agent has the perfect solution for the NCAA and college athletics struggling to deal with his ilk:  give up.

… What needs to change is the entire attitude toward college football. This is the perfect time to implement an honest approach to the combination of big-time football and higher education, an approach that eliminates the NCAA’s notion of amateurism. College football generates huge revenues, and there is plenty of money to create a win-win business model for players, coaches and universities. A big business deserves market-driven reform, free of hypocrisy.

Yes, because if there’s one thing that’s true about big business, is that it’s free of hypocrisy.

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Filed under It's Just Bidness

Time to get together

The Intertubes were aflame yesterday with speculation resulting from the purported bombshell dropped in this article.

… Late Thursday night, a source close to the situation said that representatives from the Mountain West and another league — believed to be Conference USA — met in Colorado to discuss a plan to match the two conferences’ champions in a title game, with the winner gaining an automatic BCS berth.

“You’re on the right track,” said the source. “The lawyers have told them [the BCS] that it’s time to give someone else a chance.”

Uh huh.

Assuming for the sake of argument that the lawyers really told the BCS suits that (admittedly, it’s highly unlikely that such a conversation took place or that a source close to the MWC would have a clue about what legal strategies the BCS and its lawyers discussed), why would anyone choose such an unwieldy means of providing that access?  Particularly when you’ve got the MWC getting close to meeting the requirements for obtaining an AQ slot in the BCS on its own?  (And given that, why would the MWC want to share the wealth, anyway?)

Short answer:  you wouldn’t.

It sounds like the source “close to the situation” isn’t that close to the Mountain West commissioner, who laid out the problems with such a playoff game.

… Such an idea, he said, would require approval by the four BCS bowls and a by majority of the 11 FBS conferences (to allow a seventh automatic qualifier in the BCS) as well as NCAA legislation (to allow for an extra game, since C-USA already stages a championship game). In other words, such an event wouldn’t happen anytime soon, if ever. “There’s no plan in place,” Thompson said. “We can’t affect that. There are four bowls and ESPN and nine other conference signatories. It’s two guys talking who don’t have any control over the vote.”

Pretty obvious that it’s dead on arrival, no?  Yet I don’t doubt that somebody, an unnamed single source (such is what passes for journalistic integrity these days), dropped the information in a place where it would get out.  So, the question is why?  My guess is that Craig Thompson, having already lost one crown jewel from his conference lineup and being threatened with the imminent loss of another, is scrambling to keep BYU from leaving and TCU from having thoughts of leaving by putting out the word that he’s working with other conferences that might otherwise be possible options for some of his potential defectors.

Of course, right now in mid-major land, it’s proving to be every school for itself, so I’m not sure if Thompson’s strategy (if that’s what it is) will prove to be successful.  After all, he’s got first-hand proof with his conference’s newest members that when it comes to survival, being two-faced is a feature, not a bug.

He’s a sharp enough guy to know that, though.

… Such meetings between conference leaders are not uncommon, though some have led to big moves. Reminded that similar ACC-Big East and Pac-10-Big 12 meetings served as a prelude to one conference trying to raid the other, Thompson laughed. “Maybe I should have canceled it,” he joked.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

One man band

If they ever run out of halftime entertainment ideas, maybe they could send A.J. Green out there to join the girls with the flaming batons.

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Filed under Georgia Football